The Most Fascinating Read Ever

From Christmas Day 1986 through January 17, 1988, Mötley Crüe founder and songwriter Nikki Sixx kept a daily diary that chronicled his exploits as an unraveling drug addict. He's not the first and won't be the last to do this, but goddamn if the result isn't one of the most riveting rock 'n' roll reads to hit the streets in a long time. Walking readers through his daily routine drug by drug, Sixx's massive tolerance for substance abuse and the psychotic thoughts that accompany it are all here, in diary format. Some of it is funny, most of it is sad, but it's all brutally Nikki Sixx from the inside out.

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star is a vivid journey through Sixx's miniature world during the height of the Crüe's success. Much of his writing takes place while he's in his closet, the only place he claims to have felt safe. The pace of his prose varies depending upon the drug or drug combination he's ingesting at the time. Sometimes he's doing blow by the ounce, with pictures to prove it; other times, he's junk sick and begging for his dealer, Jason, to show up and give him another fix. Some pages are just poems and sketches, including one that reads, "One could say that I've been having a 10cc love affair..." with a sketch of a syringe plunged deep into his heart.

It's a miracle (and a great money-making opportunity) that he's decided to publish these memoirs, because of the flamboyant stories within them. Some entries, he just trashes his friends, one-night stands, and bandmates; other times, he gets truly personal and discusses his family to an almost cathartic level. Things get good when he goes into detail about his relationship with Prince's former lover Vanity. While the stories that he tells about their sex life, and the freebase cocaine habit he claims she introduced him to, seem true, it helps that her voice is in the book as well. In fact, what keeps this tome balanced is that Sixx and co-author Ian Gittins are able to secure quotes from almost everyone that Sixx writes about, including his bandmates, friends, drug counselors, and Vanity, who is now an evangelical minister.

What stands out about these memoirs is how deeply addicted yet creatively brilliant Sixx is during this period. What readers are left with is how one of the wildest rock stars is still able to work his way toward redemption. A soundtrack to accompany the book is due for release this week.

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Jonathan Cunningham